Adam Silver says COVID-19 spread may stop NBA from returningSporting News — firstname.lastname@example.org (Sporting News)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver conceded the league's planned restart at the end of July could be scrapped if there is a large number of coronavirus cases.
"Never 'full steam ahead, no matter what,'" Silver told TIME 100 Talks when asked if the league would take the court regardless of events. "One thing we are learning about this virus is [that] much [is] unpredictable, and we and our players, together with their union, look at the data on a daily basis.
"If there were something to change that was outside of the scope of what we are playing for, [then] certainly we would revisit our plans.
"We are testing daily. We haven't put a precise number on it, but if we were to see a large number of cases and see spread in our community, that would of course be a cause to stop as well."
Zion Williamson and the Pelicans are scheduled to face the Jazz in the first game back on July 30, with LeBron James' Lakers in action against the Clippers later that day. The season is set to resume with 22 teams playing at the Disney World complex outside Orlando, Fla. The campaign was halted March 11 because of COVID-19.
"We are going to see as we go," Silver added. "Certainly, if cases are isolated, that's one thing. A lot of the determination will be our understanding of how our community became infected. That will be part of our judgment in terms of whether we should continue. But certainly if we had a lot of cases, we are going to stop. You cannot run from this virus.
"I am absolutely convinced that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus because there aren't many situations that I am aware of where there is mass testing of asymptomatic employees.
"In some ways, this is maybe a model for how other industries can ultimately open. But I am only going to say we will be responsible and watch what is happening, but the biggest indicator will be if we begin to see a spread in our community."